June 9, 2010
Hardly anyone has noticed, but international climate negotiations have resumed in formal session for the first time since the Copenhagen summit last December. Six months after failing to seal a deal in the Danish capital, despite much optimism when the summit opened, the negotiators are trying to get the process back on track in time for the next major conference in Cancun, Mexico, at the end of the year.
The good news is that the atmosphere is much better than in Copenhagen. Mind you, it could hardly be worse, than at that rancorous, chaotic, atrociously organised and disastrously chaired occasion. But even so there is a remarkable amount of goodwill around, especially given where things broke off just before Christmas.
One sign of that is that much of the Copenhagen Accord, the last-minute agreement personally hammered out by the leaders on the summit’s last day, is being quietly merged with the formal UN negotiating text: a clash between the proponents of the two dragged on into extra time through the night after summit was supposed to have ended, threatening to turn admitted disappointment into indisputable disaster. Meanwhile, most of the negotiating countries – representing 80 per cent of world carbon dioxide emissions – have signed up to it.
The bad news is that there are still deep differences between developed and developing countries. The Third World wants industrialised nations to pledge to make bigger emissions cuts faster.
They, and particularly the United States, have responded by demanding better monitoring and verification of developing country measures to fulfill the often impressive promises they have made to tackle their own emissions. On the other hand, good progress has been made on working out ways of rewarding tropical rainforest countries for keeping their trees standing, and on transferring clean, green technologies from rich to poor.
This article was posted: Wednesday, June 9, 2010 at 3:43 am